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1.  Regulation of CDX4 gene transcription by HoxA9, HoxA10, the Mll-Ell oncogene and Shp2 during leukemogenesis 
Oncogenesis  2014;3(12):e135-.
Cdx and Hox proteins are homeodomain transcription factors that regulate hematopoiesis. Transcription of the HOX and CDX genes decreases during normal myelopoiesis, but is aberrantly sustained in leukemias with translocation or partial tandem duplication of the MLL1 gene. Cdx4 activates transcription of the HOXA9 and HOXA10 genes, and HoxA10 activates CDX4 transcription. The events that break this feedback loop, permitting a decreased Cdx4 expression during normal myelopoiesis, were previously undefined. In the current study, we find that HoxA9 represses CDX4 transcription in differentiating myeloid cells, antagonizing activation by HoxA10. We determine that tyrosine phosphorylation of HoxA10 impairs transcriptional activation of CDX4, but tyrosine phosphorylation of HoxA9 facilitates repression of this gene. As HoxA9 and HoxA10 are phosphorylated during myelopoiesis, this provides a mechanism for differentiation stage-specific Cdx4 expression. HoxA9 and HoxA10 are increased in cells expressing Mll-Ell, a leukemia-associated MLL1 fusion protein. We find that Mll-Ell induces a HoxA10-dependent increase in Cdx4 expression in myeloid progenitor cells. However, Cdx4 decreases in a HoxA9-dependent manner on exposure of Mll-Ell-expressing cells to differentiating cytokines. Leukemia-associated, constitutively active mutants of Shp2 block cytokine-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of HoxA9 and HoxA10. In comparison with myeloid progenitor cells that are expressing Mll-Ell alone, we find increased CDX4 transcription and Cdx4 expression in cells co-expressing Mll-Ell plus constitutively active Shp2. Increased Cdx4 expression is sustained on exposure of these cells to differentiating cytokines. Our results identify a mechanism for increased and sustained CDX4 transcription in leukemias co-overexpressing HoxA9 and HoxA10 in combination with constitutive activation of Shp2. This is clinically relevant, because MLL1 translocations and constitutive Shp2 activation co-exist in human myeloid leukemias.
PMCID: PMC4275563  PMID: 25531430
2.  Pharmacogenetic Randomized Trial for Cocaine Abuse: Disulfiram and α1A-adrenoceptor gene variation 
Disulfiram is a cocaine addiction pharmacotherapy that inhibits dopamine β-hydroxylase (DβH) and reduces norepinephrine production. We examined whether a functional variant of the ADRA1A gene (Cys to Arg at codon 347 in exon 2, Cys347Arg) may enhance treatment response through decreased stimulation of this α1A-adrenoceptor, since antagonists of this receptor show promise in reducing cocaine use. Sixty-nine cocaine and opioid co-dependent (DSM-IV) subjects were stabilized on methadone for two weeks and subsequently randomized into disulfiram (250 mg/day, N = 32) and placebo groups (N = 37) for 10 weeks. We genotyped the ADRA1A gene polymorphism (rs1048101) and evaluated its role for increasing cocaine free urines in those subjects treated with disulfiram using repeated measures analysis of variance, corrected for population structure. The 47 patients who carried at least one T allele of rs1048101 (TT or TC genotype) reduced their cocaine positive urines from 84% to 56% on disulfiram (p = .0001), while the 22 patients with the major allele CC genotype showed no disulfiram effect. This study indicates that a patient’s ADRA1A genotype could be used to identify a subset of individuals for which disulfiram and, perhaps, other α1-adrenoceptor blockers may be an effective pharmacotherapy for cocaine dependence.
PMCID: PMC3818518  PMID: 23849431
Gene; polymorphism; disulfiram; α1A-adrenoceptor; cocaine dependence
3.  Bortezomib enhances cancer cell death by blocking the autophagic flux through stimulating ERK phosphorylation 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(11):e1510-.
The antitumor activity of an inhibitor of 26S proteasome bortezomib (Velcade) has been observed in various malignancies, including colon cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. Bortezomib has been proposed to stimulate autophagy, but scientific observations did not always support this. Interactions between ERK activity and autophagy are complex and not completely clear. Autophagy proteins have recently been shown to regulate the functions of ERK, and ERK activation has been found to induce autophagy. On the other hand, sustained activation of ERK has also been shown to inhibit the maturation step of the autophagy process. In this study, we sought to identify the mechanism of autophagy regulation in cancer cells treated with bortezomib. Our results indicate that bortezomib blocked the autophagic flux without inhibiting the fusion of the autophagosome and lysosome. In ovarian cancer, as well as endometrial cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma cells, bortezomib inhibited protein degradation in lysosomes by suppressing cathepsins, which requires the participation of ERK phosphorylation, but not JNK or p38. Our findings that ERK phosphorylation reduced cathepsins further explain how ERK phosphorylation inhibits the autophagic flux. In conclusion, bortezomib may induce ERK phosphorylation to suppress cathepsin B and inhibit the catalytic process of autophagy in ovarian cancer and other solid tumors. The inhibition of cisplatin-induced autophagy by bortezomib can enhance chemotherapy efficacy in ovarian cancer. As we also found that bortezomib blocks the autophagic flux in other cancers, the synergistic cytotoxic effect of bortezomib by abolishing chemotherapy-related autophagy may help us develop strategies of combination therapies for multiple cancers.
PMCID: PMC4260726  PMID: 25375375
4.  Downregulation of TIM-3 mRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus 
The T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain (TIM) family is associated with autoimmune diseases, but its expression level in the immune cells of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients is not known. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the expression of TIM-3 mRNA is associated with pathogenesis of SLE. Quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis (qRT-PCR) was used to determine TIM-1, TIM-3, and TIM-4 mRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 132 patients with SLE and 62 healthy controls. The PBMC surface protein expression of TIMs in PBMCs from 20 SLE patients and 15 healthy controls was assayed by flow cytometry. Only TIM-3 mRNA expression decreased significantly in SLE patients compared with healthy controls (P<0.001). No significant differences in TIM family protein expression were observed in leukocytes from SLE patients and healthy controls (P>0.05). SLE patients with lupus nephritis (LN) had a significantly lower expression of TIM-3 mRNA than those without LN (P=0.001). There was no significant difference in the expression of TIM-3 mRNA within different classes of LN (P>0.05). Correlation of TIM-3 mRNA expression with serum IgA was highly significant (r=0.425, P=0.004), but was weakly correlated with total serum protein (rs=0.283, P=0.049) and serum albumin (rs=0.297, P=0.047). TIM-3 mRNA expression was weakly correlated with the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI; rs=-0.272, P=0.032). Our results suggest that below-normal expression of TIM-3 mRNA in PBMC may be involved in the pathogenesis of SLE.
PMCID: PMC4288496  PMID: 25493386
TIM-3; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Lupus nephritis; T-helper cell
5.  Prospective study of the relationship between coffee and tea with colorectal cancer risk: The PLCO Cancer Screening Trial 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;109(5):1352-1359.
Coffee and tea are commonly consumed and carry potential anticancer components that could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer; however, their relationships with colorectal cancer risk remain inconsistent.
A prospective analysis was carried out to examine the relationships of coffee and tea intake with colorectal cancer risk in 57 398 men and women in the intervention arm of the National Cancer Institute-Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, a national screening study that limits differential detection biases. Coffee and tea intakes were assessed by food frequency questionnaire.
Six hundred and eighty-one incident colorectal cancer cases were ascertained during a median follow-up of 11.4 years. Greater coffee intake was not associated with risk of colorectal cancer (relative risk (RR)=1.08, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.79–1.48, Ptrend=0.23). Stratifying by cancer site (Pheterogeneity=0.48) or stage (Pheterogeneity=0.83) did not alter the relationship. Associations remained unchanged in subsets of participants for either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee or when stratifying by several colorectal cancer risk factors. Similarly, greater tea intake was not associated with colorectal cancer risk overall (RR=0.77, 95% CI=0.55–1.09, Ptrend=0.17) or by cancer site (Pheterogeneity=0.14) or stage (Pheterogeneity=0.60). These associations were not modified by several colorectal cancer risk factors.
The findings of this study do not provide evidence to suggest that drinking coffee or tea is beneficial in protecting against colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC3778290  PMID: 23907431
coffee; tea; colorectal cancer; prospective; PLCO
6.  A phase II study of ixabepilone and trastuzumab for metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer 
Annals of Oncology  2013;24(7):1841-1847.
A multicenter NCI-sponsored phase II study was conducted to analyze the safety and efficacy of the combination of ixabepilone with trastuzumab in patients with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer.
Patients and methods
Two cohorts were enrolled: cohort 1 had received no prior chemotherapy or trastuzumab for metastatic disease and cohort 2 had received 1–2 prior trastuzumab-containing regimens for metastatic disease. Patients in both cohorts received ixabepilone 40 mg/m2 as a 3-h infusion and trastuzumab on day 1 of a 21-day cycle. Tumor biomarkers that may predict response to trastuzumab were explored.
Thirty-nine women entered the study with 15 patients in cohort 1 and 24 patients in cohort 2. Across both cohorts, the overall RR was 44%, with a clinical benefit rate (CR + PR + SD for at least 24 weeks) of 56%. Treatment-related toxic effects included neuropathy (grade ≥2, 56%), leukopenia (grade ≥2, 26%), myalgias (grade ≥2, 21%), neutropenia (grade ≥2, 23%), and anemia (grade ≥2, 18%).
This represents the first study of the combination of ixabepilone with trastuzumab for the treatment of metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer. These results suggest that the combination has encouraging activity as first and subsequent line therapy for metastatic breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3690910  PMID: 23559151
breast; cancer; HER2; ixabepilone; trastuzumab
7.  Adenovirus Death Protein (ADP) Is Required for Lytic Infection of Human Lymphocytes 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(2):903-912.
The adenovirus death protein (ADP) is expressed at late times during a lytic infection of species C adenoviruses. ADP promotes the release of progeny virus by accelerating the lysis and death of the host cell. Since some human lymphocytes survive while maintaining a persistent infection with species C adenovirus, we compared ADP expression in these cells with ADP expression in lymphocytes that proceed with a lytic infection. Levels of ADP were low in KE37 and BJAB cells, which support a persistent infection. In contrast, levels of ADP mRNA and protein were higher in Jurkat cells, which proceed with a lytic infection. Epithelial cells infected with an ADP-overexpressing virus died more quickly than epithelial cells infected with an ADP-deleted virus. However, KE37, and BJAB cells remained viable after infection with the ADP-overexpressing virus. Although the levels of ADP mRNA increased in KE37 and BJAB cells infected with the ADP-overexpressing virus, the fraction of cells with detectable ADP was unchanged, suggesting that the control of ADP expression differs between epithelial and lymphocytic cells. When infected with an ADP-deleted adenovirus, Jurkat cells survived and maintained viral DNA for greater than 1 month. These findings are consistent with the notion that the level of ADP expression determines whether lymphocytic cells proceed with a lytic or a persistent adenovirus infection.
PMCID: PMC3911668  PMID: 24198418
8.  Scaffold attachment factor B1 regulates the androgen receptor in concert with the growth inhibitory kinase MST1 and the methyltransferase EZH2 
Oncogene  2013;33(25):3235-3245.
The androgen receptor (AR) is a transcription factor that employs many diverse interactions with coregulatory proteins in normal physiology and in prostate cancer (PCa). The AR mediates cellular responses in association with chromatin complexes and kinase cascades. Here we report that the nuclear matrix protein, scaffold attachment factor B1 (SAFB1), regulates AR activity and AR levels in a manner that suggests its involvement in PCa. SAFB1 mRNA expression was lower in PCa in comparison with normal prostate tissue in a majority of publicly available RNA expression data sets. SAFB1 protein levels were also reduced with disease progression in a cohort of human PCa that included metastatic tumors. SAFB1 bound to AR and was phosphorylated by the MST1 (Hippo homolog) serine-threonine kinase, previously shown to be an AR repressor, and MST1 localization to AR-dependent promoters was inhibited by SAFB1 depletion. Knockdown of SAFB1 in androgen-dependent LNCaP PCa cells increased AR and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, stimulated growth of cultured cells and subcutaneous xenografts and promoted a more aggressive phenotype, consistent with a repressive AR regulatory function. SAFB1 formed a complex with the histone methyltransferase EZH2 at AR-interacting chromatin sites in association with other polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) proteins. We conclude that SAFB1 acts as a novel AR co-regulator at gene loci where signals from the MST1/Hippo and EZH2 pathways converge.
PMCID: PMC3934948  PMID: 23893242
AR; MST1/STK4; Hippo-RASSF1-LATS; prostate cancer; castration resistance
9.  Gaussian Mixture Model-based Classification of DCE-MRI data For Identifying Diverse Tumor Microenvironments: Preliminary Results 
NMR in biomedicine  2013;26(5):519-532.
Tumor hypoxia develops heterogeneously and affects radiation sensitivity and development of metastases. Prognostic information derived from the in vivo characterisation of the spatial distribution of hypoxic areas in solid tumors can be of value for radiation therapy planning and for monitoring early treatment response. Tumor hypoxia is caused by an imbalance between the supply and consumption of oxygen. Tumor oxygen supply is inherently linked to its vasculature and perfusion which can be evaluated by dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) using the contrast agent Gd-DTPA. Thus we hypothesize that DCE-MRI data may provide surrogate information regarding tumor hypoxia. In this study, DCE-MRI data from a rat prostate tumor model were analysed with a Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM)-based classification to identify perfused, hypoxic, and necrotic areas for a total of ten tumor slices from six rats, of which one slice was used as training data for GMM classifications. The results of pattern recognition analyses were validated by comparison to corresponding Akep maps defining the perfused area (0.84±0.09 overlap), hematoxylin/eosin (H&E) stained tissue sections defining necrosis (0.64±0.15 overlap), and pimonidazole-stained sections defining hypoxia (0.72±0.17 overlap), respectively. Our preliminary data indicate the feasibility of a GMM-based classification to identify tumor hypoxia, necrosis, and perfusion/permeability from non-invasively acquired, in vivo DCE-MRI data alone, possibly obviating the need for invasive procedures, such as biopsies, or exposure to radioactivity, such as in PET exams.
PMCID: PMC3706205  PMID: 23440683
DCE-MRI; hypoxia; Gaussian mixture model; preclinical prostate model; tumor microenvironments; radiation therapy
10.  Anticancer compound Oplopantriol A kills cancer cells through inducing ER stress and BH3 proteins Bim and Noxa 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(4):e1190-.
Oplopantriol-A (OPT) is a natural polyyne from Oplopanax horridus. We show here that OPT preferentially kills cancer cells and inhibits tumor growth. We demonstrate that OPT-induced cancer cell death is mediated by excessive endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Decreasing the level of ER stress either by inactivating components of the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway or by expression of ER chaperone protein glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) decreases OPT-induced cell death. We show that OPT induces the accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins and the stabilization of unstable proteins, suggesting that OPT functions, at least in part, through interfering with the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway. In support of this, inhibition of protein synthesis significantly decreased the accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins, which is correlated with significantly decreased OPT-induced ER stress and cell death. Finally, we show that OPT treatment significantly induced the expression of BH3-only proteins, Noxa and Bim. Knockdown of both Noxa and Bim significantly blocked OPT-induced cell death. Taken together, our results suggest that OPT is a potential new anticancer agent that induces cancer cell death through inducing ER stress and BH3 proteins Noxa and Bim.
PMCID: PMC4001317  PMID: 24763047
ER stress; Oplopantriol-A; unfolded protein response; noxa; bim
11.  Modifying Role of Serotonergic 5-HTTLPR & TPH2 Variants on Disulfiram Treatment of Cocaine Addiction: A Preliminary Study 
Genes, brain, and behavior  2012;10.1111/j.1601-183X.2012.00839.x.
Disulfiram is a cocaine pharmacotherapy that may act through increasing serotonin, benefiting patients with genetically low serotonin transporter levels (5-HTTLPR S′ allele carriers) and low serotonin synthesis (TPH2 A allele carriers). We stabilized 71 cocaine and opioid co-dependent patients on methadone for two weeks and randomized them into disulfiram and placebo groups for 10 weeks. We genotyped the SLC6A4 5-HTTLPR (rs4795541, rs25531) and TPH2 1125A>T (rs4290270) variants and evaluated their role in moderating disulfiram treatment for cocaine dependence. Cocaine positive urines dropped from 78% to 54% for the disulfiram group and from 77% to 76% for the placebo group among the 5-HTTLPR S′ allele carriers (F = 16.2; df = 1,301; P <0.0001). TPH2 A allele carriers responded better to disulfiram than placebo (F = 16.0; df = 1,223; P <0.0001). Patients with both an S′ allele and a TPH2 A allele reduced cocaine urines from 71% to 53% on disulfiram and had no change on placebo (F = 21.6; df = 1,185; P <0.00001).
PMCID: PMC3521860  PMID: 22925276
Gene; disulfiram; polymorphism; cocaine; treatment; serotonin
12.  CD147 induces UPR to inhibit apoptosis and chemosensitivity by increasing the transcription of Bip in hepatocellular carcinoma 
Cell Death and Differentiation  2012;19(11):1779-1790.
The unfolded protein response (UPR) is generally activated in solid tumors and results in tumor cell anti-apoptosis and drug resistance. However, tumor-specific UPR transducers are largely unknown. In the present study, we identified CD147, a cancer biomarker, as an UPR inducer in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The expression of the major UPR target, Bip, was found to be positively associated with CD147 in human hepatoma tissues. By phosphorylating FAK and Src, CD147-enhanced TFII-I tyrosine phosphorylation at Tyr248. CD147 also induced p-TFII-I nuclear localization and binding to the Bip promoter where endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response element 1 (ERSE1) (−82/−50) is the most efficient target of the three ERSEs, thus increasing transcription of Bip. Furthermore, by inducing UPR, CD147 inhibited HCC cell apoptosis and decreased cell Adriamycin chemosensitivity, thus decreasing the survival rate of hepatoma-bearing nude mice. Together, these results reveal pivotal roles for CD147 in modulating the UPR in HCC and raise the possibility that CD147 is a target that promotes HCC cell apoptosis and increases the sensitivity of tumors to anti-cancer drugs. Therefore, CD147 inhibition provides an opportunity to enhance the efficacy of existing agents and represents a novel target for HCC treatment.
PMCID: PMC3469060  PMID: 22595757
CD147; unfolded protein response (UPR); hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); Bip; apoptosis; chemosensitivity
13.  A meta-analysis of lymph node metastasis rate for patients with thoracic oesophageal cancer and its implication in delineation of clinical target volume for radiation therapy 
Ding, X | Zhang, J | Li, B | Wang, Z | Huang, W | Zhou, T | Wei, Y | Li, H
The British Journal of Radiology  2012;85(1019):e1110-e1119.
The objective of this study was to pool the lymph node metastasis rate (LNMR) in patients with thoracic oesophageal cancer (TOC) and to determine which node level should be included when undergoing radiation therapy.
Qualified studies were identified on Medline, Embase, CBM and the Cochrane Library through to the end of April 2011. Pooled estimates of LNMR were obtained through a random-effect model. Possible effect modifiers which might lead to the statistical heterogeneity were identified through meta-regression, and further subgroup analyses of factors influencing LNMR were performed.
45 observational studies with a total of 18 415 patients were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled estimates of LNMR in upper, middle and lower TOC were 30.7%, 16.8% and 11.0% cervical, 42.0%, 21.1% and 10.5% upper mediastinal, 12.9%, 28.1% and 19.6% middle mediastinal, 2.6%, 7.8% and 23.0% lower mediastinal, and 9%, 21.4% and 39.9% abdominal, respectively. Lymph node metastasis most frequently happened to paratracheal, paraoesophageal, perigastric 106recR and station 7. The most obvious difference (≥15%) of LNMR between two-field and three-field lymphatic dissection occurred in cervical, paratracheal, 106recR and 108.
Through the meta-analysis, more useful information was obtained about clinical target volume (CTV) delineation of TOC patients treated with radiotherapy. However, our study is predominantly a description of squamous carcinoma and the results may not be valid for adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3500810  PMID: 22700258
14.  Single sevoflurane exposure decreases neuronal nitric oxide synthase levels in the hippocampus of developing rats 
BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia  2012;109(2):225-233.
The use of general anaesthetics in young children and infants has raised concerns regarding the adverse effects of these drugs on brain development. Sevoflurane might have harmful effects on the developing brain; however, these effects have not been well investigated.
Postnatal day 7 (P7) Sprague–Dawley rats were continuously exposed to 2.3% sevoflurane for 6 h. We used the Fox battery test and Morris water maze (MWM) to examine subsequent neurobehavioural performance. Cleaved caspase-3 and neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) were quantified by immunoblotting, and the Nissl staining was used to observe the histopathological changes in the hippocampus.
A single 6 h sevoflurane exposure at P7 rats resulted in increased cleaved caspase-3 expression and decreased nNOS levels in the hippocampus, and induced the loss of pyramidal neurones in the CA1 and CA3 subfields of the hippocampus at P7–8. These changes were accompanied by temporal retardation of sensorimotor reflexes. However, neither the Fox battery test at P1–21 nor the MWM test at P28–32 showed differences between the air- and sevoflurane-treated groups.
Although early exposure to sevoflurane increases activated caspase-3 expression and neuronal loss and decreases nNOS in the neonatal hippocampus, it does not affect subsequent neurobehavioural performances in juvenile rats.
PMCID: PMC3393078  PMID: 22535834
anaesthetic, sevoflurane; caspase 3; hippocampus; memory; neuronal nitric oxide synthase; sevoflurane
15.  Aspirin but not ibuprofen use is associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer: a PLCO Study 
British Journal of Cancer  2012;107(1):207-214.
Although most epidemiological studies suggest that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use is inversely associated with prostate cancer risk, the magnitude and specificity of this association remain unclear.
We examined self-reported aspirin and ibuprofen use in relation to prostate cancer risk among 29 450 men ages 55–74 who were initially screened for prostate cancer from 1993 to 2001 in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Men were followed from their first screening exam until 31 December 2009, during which 3575 cases of prostate cancer were identified.
After adjusting for potential confounders, the hazard ratios (HRs) of prostate cancer associated with <1 and ⩾1 pill of aspirin daily were 0.98 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.90–1.07) and 0.92 (95% CI: 0.85–0.99), respectively, compared with never use (P for trend 0.04). The effect of taking at least one aspirin daily was more pronounced when restricting the analyses to men older than age 65 or men who had a history of cardiovascular-related diseases or arthritis (HR (95% CI); 0.87 (0.78–0.97), 0.89 (0.80–0.99), and 0.88 (0.78–1.00), respectively). The data did not support an association between ibuprofen use and prostate cancer risk.
Daily aspirin use, but not ibuprofen use, was associated with lower risk of prostate cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3389420  PMID: 22722313
prostate cancer; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; cyclooxgenase
17.  Aberrant Activation of the Intrarenal Renin-Angiotensin System in the Developing Kidneys of Type 2 Diabetic Rats 
We have previously reported that intrarenal angiotensin II (Ang II) levels are increased long before diabetes becomes apparent in obese Otsuka-Long-Evans-Tokushima-Fatty (OLETF) rats, a model of type 2 diabetes. In this study, we examined the changes in intrarenal renin-angiotensin system (RAS) activity in the developing kidneys of OLETF rats. Ang II contents and mRNA levels of RAS components were measured in male OLETF and control Long-Evans Tokushima (LETO) rats at postnatal days (PND) 1, 5, and 15, and at 4–30 weeks of age. In both LETO and OLETF rats, kidney Ang II levels peaked at PND 1, then decreased during the pre- and post-weaning periods. However, Ang II levels and gene expression of RAS components, including angiotensinogen (AGT), renin, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), were not significantly different between LETO and OLETF rats. Intrarenal Ang II contents further decreased during puberty (from 7 to 11 weeks of age) in LETO rats, bur not in OLETF rats. At 11 weeks of age, kidney Ang II levels, urinary AGT excretion, and mRNA levels of AGT and renin were higher in OLETF rats than in LETO rats, while blood glucose levels were not significantly different between these groups of rats. These data indicate that continued intrarenal expression of Ang II during pubescence contributes to the increases in intrarenal Ang II levels in prediabetic OLETF rats, and is associated with increased intrarenal AGT and renin expression. Inappropriate activation of the intrarenal RAS in the prediabetic stage may facilitate the onset and development of diabetic nephropathy in later life.
PMCID: PMC3655199  PMID: 23322513
angiotensin II; developing kidney; diabetes; angiotensinogen
18.  Meat consumption and the risk of incident distal colon and rectal adenoma 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;106(3):608-616.
Most studies of meat and colorectal adenoma have investigated prevalent events from a single screening, thus limiting our understanding of the role of meat and meat-related exposures in early colorectal carcinogenesis.
Among participants in the screening arm of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial who underwent baseline and follow-up sigmoidoscopy (n=17 072), we identified 1008 individuals with incident distal colorectal adenoma. We calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for associations between meat and meat-related components and incident distal colorectal adenoma using multivariate logistic regression.
We observed suggestive positive associations for red meat, processed meat, haeme iron, and nitrate/nitrite with distal colorectal adenoma. Grilled meat (OR=1.56, 95% CI=1.04–2.36), well or very well-done meat (OR=1.59, 95% CI=1.05–2.43), 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenyl-imidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) (OR=1.75, 95% CI=1.17–2.64), benzo[a]pyrene (OR=1.53, 95% CI=1.06–2.20), and total mutagenic activity (OR=1.57, 95% CI=1.03–2.40) were positively associated with rectal adenoma. Total iron (diet and supplements) (OR=0.69, 95% CI=0.56–0.86) and iron from supplements (OR=0.65, 95% CI=0.44–0.97) were inversely associated with any distal colorectal adenoma.
Our findings indicate that several meat-related components may be most relevant to early neoplasia in the rectum. In contrast, total iron and iron from supplements were inversely associated with any distal colorectal adenoma.
PMCID: PMC3281548  PMID: 22166801
colorectal adenoma; diet; meat; haeme iron; meat mutagens; nitrate; nitrite
19.  Population Dynamics of Phytophthora infestans in the Netherlands Reveals Expansion and Spread of Dominant Clonal Lineages and Virulence in Sexual Offspring 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2012;2(12):1529-1540.
For a comprehensive survey of the structure and dynamics of the Dutch Phytophthora infestans population, 652 P. infestans isolates were collected from commercial potato fields in the Netherlands during the 10-year period 2000–2009. Genotyping was performed using 12 highly informative microsatellite markers and mitochondrial haplotypes. In addition, for each isolate, the mating type was determined. STRUCTURE analysis grouped the 322 identified genotypes in three clusters. Cluster 1 consists of a single clonal lineage NL-001, known as “Blue_13”; all isolates in this cluster have the A2 mating type and the Ia mitochondrial haplotype. Clusters 2 and 3 display a more elaborate substructure containing many unique genotypes. In Cluster 3, several distinct clonal lineages were also identified. This survey witnesses that the Dutch population underwent dramatic changes in the 10 years under study. The most notable change was the emergence and spread of A2 mating type strain NL-001 (or “Blue_13”). The results emphasize the importance of the sexual cycle in generating genetic diversity and the importance of the asexual cycle as the propagation and dispersal mechanism for successful genotypes. Isolates were also screened for absence of the Avrblb1/ipiO class I gene, which is indicative for virulence on Rpi-blb1. This is also the first report of Rpi-blb1 breakers in the Netherlands. Superimposing the virulence screening on the SSR genetic backbone indicates that lack the Avrblb1/ipiO class I gene only occurred in sexual progeny. So far, the asexual spread of the virulent isolates identified has been limited.
PMCID: PMC3516475  PMID: 23275876
late blight; Blue_13; avirulence; microsatellites; population genetics
21.  The antitumor natural compound falcarindiol promotes cancer cell death by inducing endoplasmic reticulum stress 
Cell Death & Disease  2012;3(8):e376-.
Falcarindiol (FAD) is a natural polyyne with various beneficial biological activities. We show here that FAD preferentially kills colon cancer cells but not normal colon epithelial cells. Furthermore, FAD inhibits tumor growth in a xenograft tumor model and exhibits strong synergistic killing of cancer cells with 5-fluorouracil, an approved cancer chemotherapeutic drug. We demonstrate that FAD-induced cell death is mediated by induction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR). Decreasing the level of ER stress, either by overexpressing the ER chaperone protein glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) or by knockout of components of the UPR pathway, reduces FAD-induced apoptosis. In contrast, increasing the level of ER stress by knocking down GRP78 potentiates FAD-induced apoptosis. Finally, FAD-induced ER stress and apoptosis is correlated with the accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins, suggesting that FAD functions at least in part by interfering with proteasome function, leading to the accumulation of unfolded protein and induction of ER stress. Consistent with this, inhibition of protein synthesis by cycloheximide significantly decreases the accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins and blocks FAD-induced ER stress and cell death. Taken together, our study shows that FAD is a potential new anticancer agent that exerts its activity through inducing ER stress and apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3434669  PMID: 22914324
ER stress; falcarindiol; apoptosis; unfolded protein response; proteasome
22.  Neutral vs positive oral contrast in diagnosing acute appendicitis with contrast-enhanced CT: sensitivity, specificity, reader confidence and interpretation time 
The British Journal of Radiology  2011;84(1001):418-426.
The study compared the sensitivity, specificity, confidence and interpretation time of readers of differing experience in diagnosing acute appendicitis with contrast-enhanced CT using neutral vs positive oral contrast agents.
Contrast-enhanced CT for right lower quadrant or right flank pain was performed in 200 patients with neutral and 200 with positive oral contrast including 199 with proven acute appendicitis and 201 with other diagnoses. Test set disease prevalence was 50%. Two experienced gastrointestinal radiologists, one fellow and two first-year residents blindly assessed all studies for appendicitis (2000 readings) and assigned confidence scores (1=poor to 4=excellent). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were generated. Total interpretation time was recorded. Each reader's interpretation with the two agents was compared using standard statistical methods.
Average reader sensitivity was found to be 96% (range 91–99%) with positive and 95% (89–98%) with neutral oral contrast; specificity was 96% (92–98%) and 94% (90–97%). For each reader, no statistically significant difference was found between the two agents (sensitivities p-values >0.6; specificities p-values>0.08), in the area under the ROC curve (range 0.95–0.99) or in average interpretation times. In cases without appendicitis, positive oral contrast demonstrated improved appendix identification (average 90% vs 78%) and higher confidence scores for three readers. Average interpretation times showed no statistically significant differences between the agents.
Neutral vs positive oral contrast does not affect the accuracy of contrast-enhanced CT for diagnosing acute appendicitis. Although positive oral contrast might help to identify normal appendices, we continue to use neutral oral contrast given its other potential benefits.
PMCID: PMC3473642  PMID: 20959365
23.  Strontium borate glass: potential biomaterial for bone regeneration 
Boron plays important roles in many life processes including embryogenesis, bone growth and maintenance, immune function and psychomotor skills. Thus, the delivery of boron by the degradation of borate glass is of special interest in biomedical applications. However, the cytotoxicity of borate glass which arises with the rapid release of boron has to be carefully considered. In this study, it was found that the incorporation of strontium into borate glass can not only moderate the rapid release of boron, but also induce the adhesion of osteoblast-like cells, SaOS-2, thus significantly increasing the cyto-compatibility of borate glass. The formation of multilayers of apatite with porous structure indicates that complete degradation is optimistic, and the spread of SaOS-2 covered by apatite to form a sandwich structure may induce bone-like tissue formation at earlier stages. Therefore, such novel strontium-incorporated borosilicate may act as a new generation of biomaterial for bone regeneration, which not only renders boron as a nutritious element for bone health, but also delivers strontium to stimulate formation of new bones.
PMCID: PMC2880081  PMID: 20031984
borate glass; strontium; cytotoxicity; bone regeneration
The aim of this study was to investigate modifiable predictors of vitamin D status in healthy individuals, aged 55-74, and living across the USA. Vitamin D status [serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)] was measured along with age and season at blood collection, demographics, anthropometry, physical activity (PA), diet, and other lifestyle factors in 1357 male and 1264 female controls selected from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO) cohort. Multivariate linear and logistic regression analyses were used to identify associations with vitamin D status. Three, 29 and 79% of the population had serum 25(OH)D levels <25, <50 and <80 nmol/L, respectively. The major modifiable predictors of low vitamin D status were low vitamin D dietary and supplement intake, body mass index (BMI) >30 kg/m2, physical inactivity (PA) and low milk and calcium supplement intake. In men, 25(OH)D was determined more by milk intake on cereal and in women, by vitamin D and calcium supplement and menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) use. Thus targeting an increase in vigorous activity and vitamin D and calcium intake and decreasing obesity could be public health interventions independent of sun exposure to improve vitamin D status in middle-aged Americans.
PMCID: PMC2906665  PMID: 20399270
Vitamin D status; 25(OH)D; vitamin D deficiency; exercise; physical activity; obesity; body mass index(BMI); vitamin D dietary and supplement intake; calcium supplement intake; menopausal hormone therapy (MHT); milk intake
25.  Adenovirus DNA in Guthrie cards from children who develop acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) 
British Journal of Cancer  2010;102(5):796-798.
In search of a proposed viral aetiology of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), the common species C adenoviruses were analysed in Guthrie cards.
Guthrie cards from 243 children who later developed ALL and from 486 matched controls were collected and analysed by nested polymerase chain reaction for the presence of adenovirus DNA.
Adenovirus DNA was reliably detected from only two subjects, both of whom developed ALL.
Adenovirus DNA is detected in Guthrie card samples at too low a frequency to reveal an association between adenovirus and the development of leukaemia.
PMCID: PMC2833262  PMID: 20197772
aetiology; childhood leukaemia; adenovirus; prenatal infection

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